50% of the US is playing around with diabetes.

diabetes

A very shocking number but quite believable.  A study on diabetes was conducted and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on September 8th, 2015.  It reports that nearly half of the adults in the United States are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.  

I myself unfortunately toy around with the “betes” by walking on the prediabetic line.  I have a strong family history of diabetes from both parental sides and I love the sweets.  Also almost every adult in my family is dealing with diabetes in some way.

Recently, my mother had the fear of God placed in her from her doctor which luckily scared her straight.  She was warned that if she didn’t get her lifestyle together she would cross the line into “Betesville” and would take medication for the rest of her life.  Mom kicked it into gear real quick.  She cut her carbs, lost some weight and is free of diabetes medication.  Go mom!!!

Diabetes:  Do you know your numbers?

This got me thinking about my own fate with diabetes.  The past 3 to 4 years while studying medicine my fitness level and diet has gone to crap.  Ironic right?  I’m learning how to save lives and yet I’m sacrificing my own health.  The reality is medical students sit and study ALL DAY LONG.  We are always stressed and sleep deprived.  These conditions make it hard to make good lifestyle choices.  

Over the summer I decided to do an elimination diet to identify which foods disagree with my digestive tract.  As I researched, the plan kinda morphed into lets see what foods affect my blood glucose levels.  Now I want to see which foods spike my blood sugar.

In the mist of finding my baseline, I realized my glucose readings were falling into the pre-diabetic range.  WTH!!!  

diabetes

This was my fasting blood glucose level.  The prediabetes range is 100 to 125 mg/dL.  I was shocked.  At first I thought, “this has to be a mistake”.  So, I tried it again and got the same result.  My blood work from a year ago fell within normal limits but I know a lot can change in a year.  But, how could this be?  

As I sat contemplating, I’m remembered all those days I ate pizza for dinner while I studied and all the times I took a coffee break with a pack of peanut butter M&Ms.  Oh yeah, and that Mexican binge I just had.  Ok, yeah….. It’s right.  Dammit, those days of eating what I want without consequences is long gone.  

I continued to test my fasting blood glucose for a week and after 5 days I finally started seeing normal ranges.  Please note, this is by no way a replacement for having my actual blood work done and analyzed by my physician.  My home glucose readings is for me to use to figure out how foods affect my body chemistry.

Getting It Together

diabetes

Lucky for me, there’s no motivation like the threat of being prediabetic.  The very same day I got my ish together started low carbing and the elimination diet was in full affect.  I’ve eliminated all processed foods and I’m a down to the basics.  I eat lots of non starchy veggies, berries, nuts, seeds, good fats, and some lean meats.  I even cut out dairy.  EEK!!!  

The plan is to introduce foods I love one at a time after 30 days.  I’ll test my blood glucose after each introduction while checking for digestion intolerance.  The goal is to figure out which foods spike my glucose levels and which ones don’t.  I maybe able to handle my beloved peanut butter M&Ms if I can figure out the portion to keep me in an acceptable range.  

I’ve always known that food affects everyone differently.  I urge everyone to try this themselves.  If you’re interested, follow me and my journey and share your experiences with me.  I’ll post some of the meals I make, like the one pictured here.  These are grilled lemon-lime chicken wings made on the George Foreman Grill and a salad tossed in coconut lime dressing. 

Tell me what you think!

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Wired To Eat

Book Review: Wired to Eat

My summer vacation was packed with days of blissful nothingness.  I did nothing on the couch, on my friends couch, the beach, and of course at the pool.  Any place that nothing needed to be done, I was there to do it.  It was wonderful.  

Part of my nothing time included reading a highly recommended book called Wired To Eat.  Author Robb Wolf is most famously know from his first New York Selling/WSJ book The Paleo Solution.  Wolf is biochemist researcher turned health coach and believes strongly in following a paleo diet.  

This book goes beyond the average carbs are bad and protein is good spew that we’ve all heard.  He has used biochemistry to explain how carbohydrates affect human physiology.  Wolf became an advocate of the paleo diet after he used it to turn around his own health.  He also explains how he’s been able to help many of his clients do the same. 

There are many ailments that Wolf speaks of in his book with the main topic being type 2 diabetes.  He gives a brief but thorough review of endocrinology and explains how our hormones are regulated.  Luckily for me, I was able to follow his explanations because I just studied insulin, glucagon, and other hormones in biochemistry and endocrinology.  

Wired to Eat & Sleep

He makes a strong case on how sleep affects hormone regulation.  Which, I knew but just never really connected the dots quite like he did.  Sleep is definitely something I lack, especially being in medical school.  

Wired To Eat

Don’t mess with cortisol!

Everyone knows sleep is important but sometimes we need reminder.  Certain hormones spike at certain times during the day while others are regulated by our circadian rhythm.  For example, cortisol typically spikes earlier in the morning around the time we wake up and tapers off during the day right before bed.  It’s easy to piece together how irregular sleep could disrupt this cycle.  

Check out the graph from my physiology text-book below. 

Wired To Eat
Hall, John Edward, and Guyton, Arthur C. Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Elsevier, 2016. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melatonin is also another important hormone that regulates our sleeping pattern.  I recently purchased some melatonin supplements to help me regulate my sleep.  Fingers crossed.  I present these two graphs just hammer in the importance of regular sleep.  Irregular sleep will disrupt your mood, stress level, appetite, and more. 
Wired To Eat

Wolf also dives into other important related health issues such as stress (related to excess cortisol), mental issues, and personal relationships.  Many people have an unhealthy relationship with food with me probably being at the front of the line.  

In my family, food is always at the center of family gatherings.  And, we didn’t celebrate with a veggie tray and green smoothies.  Growing up we didn’t know the standard American diet was the root cause for so many chronic diseases.  Had we of known, I’m sure many of my deceased family members would still be here today.   

The health community however has so many different ideologies of what they consider healthy that it’s hard for the average person to discern what is real versus what is propaganda.  The one thing I can I think that most of us can agree on is that eating processed and fast food is not healthy.  

7 Day Carb Test

I’ve always said that certain foods will react differently in each person.  This is one idea that I completely agree with Wolf about.  I’ve always wanted to do an elimination diet and then slowly reintroduce food one by one to see how my body reacts.  

The idea is to figure out which foods don’t agree with my digestive system.  Wolf recommends doing this and testing your blood sugar 2 hours after each new carb source.  The idea is to find which sources of carbs work for you.  Since I’ve always wanted to do it, I’m going to give it a shot.  

I’ll devise a plan and share my experiences.  The goal is for me to drop some weight, get rid of my brain fog, and figure out which foods cause me to bloat and make me sluggish.

Wired To Eat

If you’ve read Wired to Eat, tried his plan, or have completed an elimination diet tell me about your experiences.  

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

A Great Summer Vacation

Thank you Lord Jesus God up above.  I needed a BREAK!!!  

Summer has come and it's almost gone and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I came home with plans to study all summer and well… I studied a little.  I mostly did nothing which is what I needed to do.  

Since starting medical school, life has been turned upside down.  It's difficult keeping up with family, friends and the hobbies I enjoy.  In January I vowed to do better.  I stayed on track for a few months and then slipped back into bad habits…….again.  

Let's just say, I'm still searching for balance while in school.

What did I do this summer?

I've been able to catch-up with some of my favorite people and meet new ones for the first time 😍

Summer

I've spent time with my baby girl pepper. 

Summer

Summer

Let's not forget about my mom's dog Simba, who refused to let me move. 

Summer

Summer

I went to the beach.

Summer

And hung out with this little one.

Summer

I made it to my grand-aunt's 70th surprise birthday party.

Best of all, I got a chance to check out the local library, pleasure read, nap and hangout at the pool.  📚

Summer

I'm heading back soon.  I'm excited to see my friends and to get back into the books.  Before I leave, I intend to make a new game plan for the upcoming semester.  Last semester got tough towards the end and I complete lost track of my sleep, diet and fitness.  As a result I'm sure I put on 15 -20 pounds 😱.  

Have you ever heard of the freshman 15?  Well, I was warned about the med school 30.  If I continue on the same track, I'll hit it.  Luckily, I'm aware of my problem and I'm motivated to reverse my path.  It's hard staying in shape for most of us here because all we do is sit and study.  On top of that we pound coffee all day, skip out on sleep and eat terrible.  

This term, I'm commissioning a few of my classmates for motivation.  Yeah, cause I need help staying on track.  I have a workout buddy and another friend willing to share healthy meals with me.  

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

All About Med 1: The Block Is Hot

Block Exams Are Coming

I’m 4 weeks into term 1 and I’m about to start study week.  We get 4 weeks of lectures, 1 week to study uninterrupted, and then a block exam.  The block exam is a combined test that covers all the materials from the beginning.  Last week, we had a 35 question formative exam kinda like a “sneak peak” of what our actual block exam will look like.  The formative counts for 2% of our grade and benchmarked where we stood with the material.  I’m glad they gave it to us because it showed me my strengths and weaknesses.  

The first block is a general review of undergraduate material.  There are a few new things, but nothing from left field.  My biggest challenge thus far has been allowing break myself to take a break.  My friend told me that having a glass of wine at night with my notes before bed doesn’t count as personal time.  

Breaks are important

block

I use a daily calendar to track my daily activities and my iOS calendar to track my time.  Since this week is study week, I’m about to go “hard in the paint.”  Meaning, this next week is no joke.  Since I understand the benefits of time off, I made sure to schedule some down time.  

I spent the weekend preparing for the week. My meal prep included pot roast, taco salad, ginger chicken, spaghetti and meatballs.  I made the roast and the ginger chicken in the crock pot.  Both are really easy to do.  I’ll post directions when I get more time.  I froze half of the meals so they would last unit the end of the week and beyond.  

Your girl won’t be hungry this week.  On top of meal prepping I went grocery shopping, filled up my gas tank, checked my tires, did my laundry, cleaned my house, changed my sheets, washed my hair, and shaved.  I don’t need any distractions this week.  The plan is to pray, eat, workout, study, and repeat.  Check it out below. 

block

The Block Is Hot

Okay, so I know this schedule looks insane.  But, “The Block Is Hot”.  Which is a Lil Wayne’s reference from his hit jam in 1999.  Every time I sit down to study I start singing that song.  LiL Wayne is referencing police on the corner preventing him from participating in discretionary activities.  I’m referencing my professors literally saying it’s my job to “F” you on this exam.  YES!  One of my professors actually said that.  So the block extra hot!

The good news is, I feel comfortable with all of the material.  I need to work on memorizing the small details and cross-referencing topics.  Hopefully things will go in my favor over the upcoming week.  

Weekly Wins

I’m still sticking to my personal goals.  Things haven’t been prefect but I haven’t completely fallen off either.  

  1.  I’m only a few days behind on my daily devotional.
  2. I still work out.  Although the past few weeks has been intermittent (1-3 times per week).  The goal is at least 4.  This week.  I want to workout everyday.  It will help me sleep and it clears my mind.  I need every advantage during study week.  
  3. My diet isn’t terrible.  I’m cooking more than I have been and that’s always better.  
  4. My sleep has been so so.  I need to be more strict with forcing myself to sleep before midnight.  
  5. Blogging fell off.  I trying though.   

If I haven’t completely failed I consider it a win, even if it’s small.  

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

All About Med 1: Week 1

New Country, New School

A few weeks ago, I moved to Antigua and Barbuda to attend American University of Antigua School of Medicine.  Although, I was sad to leave my friends at SGU I’m excited to start my new journey at AUA.  I haven’t told many people because everything has happened so fast.  Now, I get a chance to document my time in another new country.  Yay!!

February 12, 2017

So my transition to American University of Antigua is coming along and I’m beginning to learn my surroundings.  I’ve opted to lease a car for the semester to make my life easier.  I wasn’t trying to play any games with dealing with the transportation system here.  If the bus system is anything like SGU’s transportation system, I’ll pass.  

Driving has taken some adjustment since Antigua drives on the opposite side of the road from the US.  Even the driver’s side sits on the right.  Luckily, the drivers aren’t as terrible as other Caribbean islands.  

Orientation Week

Orientation is typically the week before classes start.  During this time, we confirm we’re on the island, sign up for classes, finalize things with financial-aid, and get the lay of the land.  That was Monday & Tuesday.  Wednesday was the official welcoming ceremony and the school greeted us with welcome speeches and a bar-b-que.  Thursday we sat through a day of introductions from the administration learned important information about the school.  Friday we learned we’ll be in debt for the rest of our lives.  Some call it financial aid.  Friday ended with workshops that gave helpful study tips.

Excursions

The school ended our orientation week by offering a variety of excursions to attend.  We had the option to choose from paddle boarding, Stingray City, sight-seeing at Nelson’s Dock Yard/Shirley Heights or zip-lining through Antigua’s Rainforest.  

I chose zip-lining.  I had never done it before and well…..I’m adventurous.  I wasn’t scared to zip-line but I was scared to hold the rope behind me.  The first time I did it, I felt like I was burning my hand so I decided not to hold the rope.  As a result, I ended up speeding out of control, flying backwards, and knocking the attendees over because I didn’t know how to brake. 😁

Things were going well until they threw us in an unexpected obstacle course.  In order to get back, we had to bungee jump off a 50 foot platform, At the end, tight rope across part of the rainforest, and darn near monkey bar the rest of the way.  I’m not kidding.  That’s when I started questioning my decision and wondered if I was going to make it back safely.  Obviously I did and I’m here to talk about it.  

week 1 zip line

week 1 zip line

week 1 zip line

 

February 14th, 2017

The first and second day of class was pretty light.  I know from experience this won’t continue.  Yesterday’s classes were mainly reviews of things we should’ve learned in undergrad.  All of the professors seem nice.  My anatomy professor is a real pleasure.  Right off the bat this man came in regulating.  All I’ll say, is he snatched my class up real quick.  He plays no games.  

My only real challenge is the financial aid process.  Prior students told me to expect the worse.  Unfortunately, they were right.  Dealing with financial aid here is awful.  I’m now on day 2 and I have yet to receive my award letter or any update when I should expect it.  After numerous emails, office visits, and phone calls, nothing.  I feel like the entire office is avoiding me.  I’ve been in customer service most of my life and lack of effective communication is in the top three of things not to do.  

Besides the nightmare of not knowing if I’ll have money, things in my new school are running pretty smoothly.  My left side driving gets better everyday and I’m no longer using the windshield wiper as the blinker.  I noticed my self leaning on the middle counsel the other day and that’s when I knew I was getting comfortable. 

February 18th, 2017

It’s Saturday and I have officially completed my first week in my new school.  I started today with sleeping in (8:00 a.m.) and then I got up and headed to the library to spend the day reviewing the weeks material.  Luckily, the class material so far hasn’t been challenging.  Some of the things I covered in undergrad in two weeks was in a 50 minutes lecture.  I’m thankful for taking extra time doing an additional pre-med program.  

Back to this financial aid issue.  Four days later and still no answers.  I’m about 2 more “we don’t know” responses to snapping.  I’m trying to be patient and professional but I really feel like this FA department is trying me.  I will give them until Monday to get it together until I change my tone.  

The problem is a large portion of the prior class last term had to repeat their first semester and that raised red flags with the United States Department of Education for financial aid.  I’m not sure of the details but it doesn’t look good.  I pray they are able to work things out and get it together.  Now the school is trying to make every effort to do everything right.  In the mean time, many students are left in limbo.  

Why do so many students have to repeat? 

Repeating the first semester is extremely common in all Caribbean medical schools.  I saw it first hand at SGU and I know it happens at Ross and AUC.  In my opinion, most students from the United States that end up in a Caribbean school have a weaker pre-medical foundation upon starting their first semester.  Caribbean schools are second chance schools for people like me who really want to follow their dream.  

Students tend to have lower GPAs, lower MCAT scores, have been out of school for a while, and/or don’t have a science back ground.  So when students get accepted into a Caribbean school and then start the heavy course load it becomes overwhelming.  Many schools have bridge programs that will prepare them for the first semester.  However, not every student goes through a program.  I was lucky enough to complete a bridge program and I pray it helps me at my new school.  

Bridge programs are designed to help you succeed in medical school.  In my situation, I graduated with a degree in finance, worked for 10 years, and then came back to school.  My back ground was not science.   Also, my GPA was not 3.75 because I didn’t care to go to medical school 10 years ago and my MCAT score was just average.   Plus I’m older.  I NEEDED a bridge.

Unfortunately, many people fail because they treat medical school here like undergrad.  It’s not the same.  If anything, Caribbean schools are waaaaayyyyy harder because now you have to prove yourself to make it back for a chance at a residency in the United States.  We work hard.  I see kids partying and I think to myself, they are on an expensive vacation.  

Weekly Wins

This year I set a few goals for myself.  Although I have not been perfect, I can honestly say that I did a good job this week with sticking to my plan.  

  1. I have been keeping up with my daily devotional 
  2. I worked out 4/7 days this week
  3. My diet has not been terrible
  4. I stuck to my schedule 80% of the time and I’m sleeping
  5. I’ve been blogging more

I have not started vlogging yet.  Hopefully, I can build up enough courage to get that together.  There’s always room for improvement and hopefully I can stay on track.  

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Reviewing The Island of Grenada

Grenada, West Indies

Grenada

The majority of my adult life I dreamed of moving to an island in the Caribbean and living the good life.  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever really think my dream would become a reality.  And then I moved to Grenada.  However, the good life consists of me studying day in and day out working towards a medical degree.  Lucky for me, when I’m not in class I get to enjoy my beautiful surrounds.  

Things to do

  1. I Beach!!!  I only require my headphones, a good book, water, and a snack.  I can literally do this sunrise to sunset.  
  2. Hike.  Grenada has many beautiful waterfalls.  You can easily find a local to take you on a tour.  It’s not expensive to go and it’s a great experience.  Just take bug spray.  Grenada
  3. Sail.  I had a friend that owned a catamaran.  Lucky for me, he was willing to take me and my friends sailing when we needed a break.  
  4. BINGO.  These people LOVE their bingo.  It’s like their lottery.  People play for money, cars, and goats.  Yes, I said goats.  
  5. Karaoke.  I’m not the best, but after a shot or two I’m the next Whitney.  
  6. Crab racing.  This was a completely new concept for me.  But it’s actually a big thing in Grenada.  You pick a crab, they are placed in the middle of a giant sand drawn circle, and which ever carb leaves the circle first wins.   
  7. Night Life.  If you’re in your 20s you’ll like Bananas.  You’ll find mostly SGU students there mixed with a few locals.  If you’re looking for a more authentic experience then you may like Fantazia.  The crowd is more mature (late 20’s and above) and it’s less crowded than Bananas.  
  8. Turtle watching.  OMG, probably the best excursion on the island in my opinion.  I love nature.  These were hatchlings we spotted on their way to the ocean, a very rare sight.Grenada

Restaurants 

Sooooo, I wasn’t impressed with the food in Grenada.  Actually, I was disappointed.  Most restaurants are okay, so don’t go expecting to find exquisite cuisines here.  The best thing in my opinion was the ambiance.  Most restaurants had amazing water views and live music.

Places I’ve tried:

  1.  Umbrella’s probably the most popular because it’s on Grand Anse Beach.  The food and drinks are cheap.  You can get a burger, fries, and a beer for less than $20 USD.  They serve mostly American style food.  (Stuff you’ll find at a chain restaurant)
  2. BB’s Crab Back was the best restaurant that I experienced.  They serve fresh seafood and other local dishes.  It’s in a great location and you can sit over the water.  This place is pricey (for my budget).  I went with a friend and we spent approximately $100 USD for two entrees, an appetizer, and a bottle of wine. 
  3. Yolo Sushi Bar was also very tasty.  It’s vegetarian friendly and has a good variety.  This place is on the pricier end, but not as much as BB’s.  I think my entree was $25 USD. 
  4. Aquarium is a restaurant located on Magazine beach.  It’s in a beautiful location on a less populated beach.  It’s actually my favorite beach in Grenada.  On Sundays they have live music and a DJ.  The food is okay.  It’s over priced for what they offer, but the drinks are on point.  I only needed one rum punch to get right.  
  5. Beach House Restaurant is on Grooms beach.  The food was over priced and not impressive.  It’s only nice because it’s right on the beach, which is also secluded.  
  6. True Blue Inn is located directly on True Blue Bay.  It’s really close to SGU and many students live in the area.  It’s a fun and trendy place to eat and the views of SGU are gorgeous.  The best day to go is Wednesday.  That’s when they have different venders from the area and you can purchase tickets to sample local authentic Grenadian food from each of the venders.  
  7. Prickly Bay Marina is a fun place.  Here, I met sailors from around the world that basically made Grenada their winter residence.  The food is on the pricer side for what you get, but the views are gorgeous.  The drinks are over priced too so it’s best to go during happy hour.  

My Review

Grenada is a small island with beautiful beaches.  It’s a nice island to visit if you’re looking for relaxation.  You’ll mainly find older couples or students.  There’s really no in-between.  If you do decided to come, bring some extra cash because things are not cheap.  

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Goals: Getting My Life In 2017

goals

I’ve heard this a time or two and you probably have too.  I’m actually a planner, a darn good one at that.  I’ll plan the crap out of an event.  Vacation, party, budget, schedule…… You name it and honey I’ve got a plan. What I am not, is a New Year’s resolutions maker.  Some of us assume we’ll magically transform into a new person on January 1st.  As if at the stoke of midnight, your fairy god mother will strike you with her magic wand and say, “wallah.”  It takes a catapillar two weeks to transform into a butterfly.  But let’s be real here; two weeks into the New Year and we’re already back to the same ole shenanigans from the prior year.

“So what makes this year different for me?”, you ask.  I’m using my natural ability to plan and applying it to my 2017 goals.  Normally, I’m a very private person, so announcing my goals to the world is quite difficult for me.  Although I enjoy writing my blog, I still find it hard to put my inner most feelings and weaknesses on public display.  But writing them on the blog for the world to see makes me accountable which will increase my chances of actually hitting my goals.  

Let’s get started.  With my big girl panties on, I sit here listening to “Retrograde” by James Blake on repeat, here we go.  

2017 Goals

My first and most important goal is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I’m Christian and God is important to me.  This year I’m making it a point to put God first in everything I do.  The past few years I’ve been distracted and haven’t spent as much time with God like I should’ve.  This has to change.  This year, I’m following a daily devotional.  Following a daily devotional plan is an easy way for me to connect with God on a daily basis.  I use the Bible app on my iPad and I’ve committed to the “Bible In One Year 2017” plan.  It takes about 20 minutes every morning to read through and then pray.

My second goal is to gain stronger focus and self-discipline.  This one goal will help me achieve the many others that follow after it.  I struggle with consistency and staying on track.  Last year, I was most productive when I scheduled my week down to the hour (using my natural planning abilities).  I even incorporated relaxation and flex time into the schedule.  You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a rock star for those few weeks.  Your girl had a to-do list and everything.  But that was short lived because I became complacent.  Looking back, I got more done in a day then than I do now in a week.  

Increased focus and discipline will help me with the following:

  1. Successfully completing year 1 of medical school.
  2. Exercising 5 days a week which will help with stress, sleep, fitness.  
  3. Resisting junk food!  Lord knows I love to eat.  It might be my favorite pass time.  But, last year I let life get the best of me and ate any and everything.  Plus, I wasn’t cooking and taking my lunch to school.  Well, let me tell you.  My fat jeans have informed me just how out of hand I’ve gotten. 

So in an attempted to begin the snap back process, I went to hit the gym today.  I was met with this sign.goals

What in the world is this?  Now they know good and well, people are trying to get their life right in January and they go and close the gym.  

goals

It’s all good.  I ended up doing a quick jog around the neighborhood.  No excuses!

My third goal is to keep a regular sleep schedule.  Believe it or not, first year medical students have time to sleep if we practice good time management.  But many of us lollygag at night on social media when it’s time for bed.  I wasted so much time making the rounds.  First FB, then IG, and lastly snap chat (which I’m still learning, ahh the joys of being in your 30’s).  Anyway, my goal is to be asleep by 12 a.m. and awake at 7 a.m..  

My fourth goal is to deal with my stress and anxiety in a more constructive manner.  This ties with my above discipline goal.  Diet and exercise are key components; but it helps me if I “write” out the stress.  When I was younger, I would journal.  It was like therapy for me.  I stopped when my ex-boyfriend found my journal and read it cover to cover.  I guess you can figure out why he’s an ex. Right?  

Either way, it helped me express my emotions so I didn’t keep them all bottled up.  Imagine randomly crying because your professor asked you how your day was going.  Yup, it happened.  It just so happen, I was having a terrible week.  But that particular morning, I woke up to no running water.  That resulted in me being late and skipping breakfast and my morning coffee.  Then I missed my bus to class and I had to walk to catch a cab.  If that wasn’t bad enough it began pouring.  Mind you, I’m living in the Caribbean so it’s one of those good heavy tropical down pours.  But like the good sport I am, I sucked it up and reached for my umbrella only to remember I left it because I was running late.   So yeah, that one question, “How is your day?” made me cry.  

Luckliy, I always keep sunglasses on me.  So I snatched those janks on and sprinted to the ladies room to check my emotions and fix my face.

goals

My fourth goal is to make time for the things I love.  Like, I have to schedule it in my weekly calendar.  My classes this term will be in the afternoon, Monday – Friday from 1 – 5 p.m..  The best time for me to make personal time is Friday evenings after I’m brain dead from the week.  

During this personal time I want to do the following:

  1. Beach more
  2. Grow the blog 
  3. Start vlogging
  4. Make time for family and friends

This post will be the foundation to holding myself accountable for reaching my goals in 2017.  Also, I realize that things won’t change overnight.  I’m curious to know what other people are working on.  Share some of your goals and what your plan is to accomplish them.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Anxiety: 4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

My heart was racing.  I began chocking and then I couldn’t breath.  I felt light headed as if I was about to pass out.  Terrified, I struggled trying to figure out what has happening to me.  This lasted 5 to 10 minutes and then the feeling passed.  It was my first anxiety attack.  

anxiety

What caused my anxiety attack?

  1. Poor diet
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Stress
  5. No balance

In January of 2016, I moved to a small island in the West Indies to start medical school where I didn’t know a soul.  I quickly learned my way around and made new friends.  As I settled into caribbean life, student life began to take off like a straight up rollercoaster ride.  One minute you’re feeling the high and the next minute you’re questioning the meaning of life.  

While most of us medical students feel a sense of pride and gratitude for our opportunities, we neglect to talk about the dark side of a medical student’s lifestyle.   No one knows the stress that we’re under and the constant hit our psyche takes day after day.  We’re constantly worrying if we’re studying correctly, have we learned enough, and will we remember it all.  Check out how CNN describes depression in the medical field.  

anxiety

For me, I knew what I was getting into.  I was willing to let my personal life take a hit to follow my passion.  But you need people.  You can’t do this thing alone.  Medical students struggle with reaching out because we’re so use to doing everything ourselves.  Often times, we feel outsiders won’t understand the struggle we go through.  Trust me, the struggle is real!

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Number one, I freaking live in paradise and the beach is always a short distance away.  Number two, it’s always 80 degrees.  Yes, 80 degrees!!  Also, I’ve met some really cool people and some lifelong friends.  Lastly, we know what we’re learning will change and hopefully save lives and that’s an awesome feeling.  Not to mention, I love learning about how amazing our bodies are.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing except how I handle stress.  Oh, and maybe going to the beach a little more often.  (adding to my to-do list)

anxiety

What have I learned? 

I can’t neglect myself.  I need to eat well, exercise everyday, and I need sleep.  All this sounds simple right?  Well, let me tell you.  Once you sit through your first week of class, you quickly realize your behind and you begin to sacrifice the basics to keep up.  So, I’m taking back to the basics and incorporating food that will help keep my stress and anxiety levels down.  

4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

  1.  Spinach is high in folic acid and helps with depression.  It’s also rich in magnesium which helps to control the stress hormone cortisol.  anxiety
  2. Wild Salmon is rich in B12 and B6 and deficiencies are linked to anxiety, panic attacks and depression.  B vitamins are important for healthy nerves and brain cells.  Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which is an anti-inflammatory.  Omega-3 helps controls the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. anxiety
  3. Guavas are very high in vitamin C which also helps control the stress hormone cortisol.anxiety
  4. Seeds & Nuts.  Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan which helps with the release of serotonin, the feel good hormone.
    anxiety

Now that I’m starting a new semester, I’m going to make it a point to make sure I don’t neglect myself especially my diet.  I’ll also be incorporating more time in my schedule for exercise.  The combination between the two will definitely help my anxiety.

What strategies do you use to combat anxiety?  Let me know.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Easy Oil-Free Hot Wings

Hot wings might possibly be may favorite food.  Fried, baked, grilled, boneless, or traditional, I eat them all.  They aren’t the healthiest thing to shove down your throat but they’re so darn irresistible.   They are definitely my comfort food of choice when I’m stressed out.  So, I had to figure out a healthier option because I’m not giving them up. 

These hot wings are so flavorful and this recipe uses minimal ingredients.  I mixed two ingredients that I love to make the sauce and then I seasoned the wings.  I made them in the oven under the broiler.  It took less than 30 minutes.  You must give them a shot.  

Hot Wings

When are they good to make?  Any time!  Of course I’m biased, but they’d be great for parties, especially Super Bowl parties.  Hot wings are a staple food that belongs in most get togethers.  You can’t throw a Super Bowl party without hot wings.  Facts! 

hot wings

Fun fact, I love spicy food and I looooooove sriracha sauce.  That mess is good on everything.  It’s like hot sauce with a kick.  So why not mix it with a little honey to make something amazing?  

You can easily season your wings anyway you want, but try putting them under the broiler if you don’t want to light up your grill.  Use parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the pan.  Also, the parchment paper prevents you from having to use any type of oil.  The great thing about parchment paper is that you can throw it away.  Easy clean up!!

hot wings

We all hate the clean up after cooking so any little short cut deserves a celebration.  So lets happy dance for the wings and another dance for the clean up.  There’s no reason not to try this easy, healthier spin on traditional hot wings. 

Make practical choices for a healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Check out my article on eating real food and look for me on pinterest.  

Honey Sriracha Hot Wings
Serves 2
Oil-Free Hot Wings
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
186 calories
7 g
66 g
7 g
24 g
2 g
93 g
786 g
6 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
93g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 186
Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
10%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 66mg
22%
Sodium 786mg
33%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
2%
Sugars 6g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A
9%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
2%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 12 chicken wings
  2. 1 table spoon honey
  3. 2 table spoon Sriracha Chili Sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon red pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Add seasoning to wings. You can adjust to your taste.
  2. Place the wings on a baking sheet spread a part and bake for on 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  3. While the wings bake, mix the honey and sriracha sauce together.
  4. Remove the wings from the oven and drain the grease.
  5. Toss the wings and the mix until they covered.
  6. Place the wings back on the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Turn the oven to broil and back on each side for an additional 7 minutes.
Notes
  1. Leave wings under the broiler to make them crispier.
beta
calories
186
fat
7g
protein
24g
carbs
7g
more
Tiffany Rebekah Lifestyle http://www.tiffanyrebekahlifestyle.com/
Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Hiking Tips: Seven Sisters Waterfalls

4 Quick Hiking Tips for Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Need an adventure while in Grenada?  How about a hike through the Grand Etang rain forest to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls?  If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to see the curious Mona Monkeys and they might just look for treasure in your pockets too.   Grand Etang National Park is home to many more exotic animals such as armadillos, tropical mocking birds, or iguanas.  Lucky for me, this rain forest is snake free 😉.  Worked out great, since I’m deathly afraid of them.  

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

1.  Bring Extra Water

This hike is the truth.  It takes about an hour each way depending on which trail you choose.  It’s not difficult, however it’s not for the faint hearted.  First you pass through a private plantation where you get a chance to see many fruits and spices grown on the island.  Then the trail begins through the rain forest with many options to choose from.  The paths aren’t well defined so I wouldn’t recommend going alone.  Hydrate well before you begin because you will sweat like hot sausages. 

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

2.  Wear Good Shoes

DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS.  This may be a hard concept to grasp, but trust me, flip-flops are a no-no.  I chose athletic sandals because I could get them wet.  The trails are slippery especially after a good rain and you’ll bust your butt in the wrong shoes.  Even in the right shoes, you’re likely to fall in the mud.  It’s a high probability you may end up with mud on your bum, so wear something old.     

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

3.  Bring Bug Spray

Just wear it.  The Zika is real honey.  As of this post there have been 3 cases.  You don’t want to be the 4th.  I’m not a fan of deet but I’m a bigger fan of not catching something from a mosquito.  I’m a mosquito magnet.  I’d tell you to stand next to me if you don’t want to get bit because they will bypass you and bite me.  But, in this tropical rain forest, everyone is fair game.  

Try to wear light colored clothing.  Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

4.  Do not go with complainers

I hiked with an adventurous group, two Austrians, one Canadian, a fellow American, and a few local Grenadians.  Everyone had a great attitude even when some of us took a tumble.  We all had good laughs.  The locals were great and even jumped off the falls for our entrainment.

I’m adventurous but I’m NOT climbing to the top of a waterfall to jump off.  What if I hit a rock?  No thank you!

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

But I could jump off the little fall.  That’s more my speed.  I didn’t though.

Hiking Seven Sisters Waterfall

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

All in all, great trip.  If you’re feel adventurous and outdoorsy, find some good people, hydrate, grab your bug spray and hit the trails.  I promise it’s worth spending the afternoon at the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. 

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle

Tiffany Rebekah